Obama’s Minority Farmer Cash Giveaway a “Magnet for Fraud”
Surprise surprise; the Obama administration’s minority farmer cash giveaway has proven to be a “magnet for fraud” and a “runaway train driven by racial politics,” according to a mainstream newspaper that’s well known for its pro Obama coverage not to mention strict political correctness.
Yet in a lengthy piece the paper trashes the administration’s multi-billion-dollar reparation initiative to make amends to minority farmers who claim to be victims of government discrimination. It started with a historic $1.2 billion settlement with black farmers who say they were cheated out of federal aid because of their race. President Obama called it “another important step forward in addressing an unfortunate chapter in USDA’s civil rights history.”
Hispanic and women farmers quickly joined the bandwagon. Most of their discrimination claims were defeated in court, but Obama’s political appointees secretly “engineered” a generous reparation fund to compensate all minority farmers who fill out an online application claiming to be the victim of government discrimination. So the White House created a generous package for women and Hispanics that includes $1.33 billion in “compensation” and $160 million in “farm debt relief.”
To get the word out the feds launched an aggressive bilingual advertising and public relations campaign that includes national outreach tours by top USDA officials as well as Justice Department bigwigs because that agency is sort of overseeing it. The goal is to ensure that any Hispanic or woman farmer or rancher who alleges discrimination is aware of the money pot, according to the USDA official in charge of the program.
Predictably, the program has been rife with fraud and corruption and will end up costing American taxpayers an astounding $4.4 billion, according to the newspaper article. That’s because more than 90,000 people have filed claims and law firms stand to gain north of $130 million in fees. “From the start, the claims process prompted allegations of widespread fraud and criticism that its very design encouraged people to lie,” the article states. Why? “Because relatively few records remained to verify accusations, claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm.”
It goes on to reveal that reviewers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the lead agency running the program, found “reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination.” Incredibly, those concerns were played down as the compensation effort actually grew!
One former USDA loan manager, a black man who reviewed thousands of claims over six years, said it was so easy to get cash from the government under this program that “I probably could have got paid.” He went on: ”You knew it was wrong, but what could you do? Who is going to listen to you?” Here is another claim reviewer’s take on the scandal-plagued reparation fund: ”Basically, it was a rip-off of the American taxpayers.”
In short, the true dimensions of the problem are impossible to gauge. Don’t expect any answers from the Obama administration, which promotes itself as the most transparent in history. Officially it had no comment for the article and those quoted in the story could only do so on the condition that they remained anonymous. The Justice Department official who supervised the cases, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, canceled an interview for the story and Attorney General Eric Holder declined to comment.